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Bad/Dreems : Badlands

A music industry type once mused about a possible compilation of Adelaide bands from the '80s titled Paisley and Smack; the idea, while not inappropriate for the genre, was shelved quickly, for fear of causing offence to protagonists in that still relevant scene. It’s said that Salman Rushdie, upon observing Adelaide’s sociological peculiarities, mused that it would be the ideal setting for a serial killing – a prophetic observation if ever there was one.
 
Bad/Dreems come from Adelaide. That’s important, and not just because of the negative cultural context noted above. Bad/Dreems’ six song EP Badlands has a veneer of pop elegance, and an abrasive underbelly that makes you think twice about hanging around here too long.
 
Chills is soft and tender, an afternoon stroll in the sunshine, with ne’er a care in the world; maybe this is what Don was hoping Adelaide would always be. Hoping for takes everything up a notch, and you’re in the car cruising down Anzac Highway on a Friday night, looking for something to do, anything, please, if only to relieve the frustration and anomie.
 
There’s an aspect about Home Life that’s simultaneously confronting and exciting; the dialectic battle between melody and dirty guitar conjures up memories of The Dagoes and its Greasy Pop successors, and that’s always a good thing. Caroline is a good ol’ fashioned pop song with an emphatic wash that makes you wonder whether the narrator’s plea will ever be reciprocated; you’re in a car park of a Christies Beach shopping precinct, and everyone’s on edge. 
 
Tomorrow Mountain is a little bit psychedelic, and maybe a little bit gothic, in a vaguely Killing Joke-at-the-Tivoli sense, and strangely mesmerising; Too Old is back to earlier happy, slacker pop pastures, hanging out with July 14 and doing nothin’ much, which, paradoxically, is everything that needs to be done. 
 
Some years ago, a (Sydney-born and raised) friend spent a couple of days in Adelaide, and made the visitor’s mistake of walking down a deserted Rundle Mall at 10pm on a Tuesday night. “I’ve always thought people from Adelaide had a certain street smartness,” she mused, “and now I know why.” Bad/Dreems isn’t just another Adelaide band; but it does represent the melodic, the tough and the spirited of that much-maligned city.
 
PATRICK EMERY
 
Best Track: Home Life
If You Like These, You'll Like This: SCREAMING BELIEVERS, LIZARD TRAIN, SEBADOH
In A Word: Scuzzy